Why in news?

Government has called for making integrated soil nutrient management a farmers’ movement.  Reviewing the progress of the Soil Health Programme

Details:

  • Major focus of the programme would be on mass awareness programme for farmers in over 1 lakh villages covering all districts of the country and setting up of village level Soil Testing Labs by youth having education in agriculture, Women Self Help Groups, FPOs etc.
  • SHC scheme will focus on enabling employment generation after appropriate skill development.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare will launch a comprehensive campaign on soil test based rational application of fertilisers and promotion of organic farming including Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP) for safe nutritious food in association with the Departments of Panchayat Raj, Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation.

What is Integrated Soil Nutrient Management?

Integrated Nutrient Management refers to the maintenance of soil fertility and of plant nutrient supply at an optimum level for sustaining the desired productivity through optimization of the benefits from all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components in an integrated manner.

Concepts

  1. Regulated nutrient supply for optimum crop growth and higher productivity.
  2. Improvement and maintenance of soil fertility.
  3. Zero adverse impact on agro – ecosystem quality by balanced fertilization of organic manures, inorganic fertilizers and bio- inoculant
     

Determinants

  1. Nutrient requirement of cropping system as a whole.
  2. Soil fertility status and special management needs to overcome soil problems, if any
  3. Local availability of nutrients resources (organic, inorganic and biological sources)
  4. Economic conditions of farmers and profitability of proposed INM option.
  5. Social acceptability.
  6. Ecological considerations.
  7. Impact on the environment
     

Advantages

  1. Enhances the availability of applied as well as native soil nutrients
  2. Synchronizes the nutrient demand of the crop with nutrient supply from native and applied sources.
  3. Provides balanced nutrition to crops and minimizes the antagonistic effects resulting from hidden deficiencies and nutrient imbalance.
  4. Improves and sustains the physical, chemical and biological functioning of soil.
  5. Minimizes the deterioration of soil, water and ecosystem by promoting carbon sequestration, reducing nutrient losses to ground and surface water bodies and to atmosphere

What is Soil Health Card Scheme?

The scheme aims at issuing soil health cards to farmers every two years so as to provide a basis to address nutritional deficiencies in soil. The scheme ensures additional income to farmers by increase in yields and it also promotes sustainable farming.

SHC is a printed report which contains nutrient status of soil with respect to 12 nutrients: pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Organic Carbon (OC), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulphur (S), Zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu) of farm holdings.

Soil health card is field-specific detailed report of soil fertility status and other important soil parameters that affect crop productivity.

Objectives of Soil Health Card Scheme:

  • To improve soil quality and profitability of farmers.
    • Employment generation for rural youth.
    • To update information on soil analysis.
    • To provide soil testing facilities to farmers at their doorstep.

Extra bytes on Soil Health Card Schemes:

  • The country wide application of soil health card has led to a decline in the use of chemical fertiliser by 10%. A study conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC) says the application of Soil Health Card recommendations has led to a decline of 8-10% in use of chemical fertilizers. 
  • In the current financial year, a pilot project “Development of Model Villages” is being implemented under which the sampling and testing of cultivable soil is being encouraged in partnership with the farmers. Under the project a Model Village has been selected for aggregation of soil samples and analysis of each agricultural holding. 
  • Under the scheme village youth and farmers up to 40 years of age are eligible to set up soil health laboratories and undertake testing. A laboratory costs up to Rs 5 lakhs, 75% of which can be funded by the central and state governments.
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